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UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a non-binding declaration that recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination, as well as their institutions, cultures and traditions, and prohibits discrimination against them.

The Declaration was adoped in 2007 by the UN General Assembly with 144 states in favor, 4 against (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States) and 11 abstentions (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa, and the Ukraine). Since then, three nations switched their votes to support the declaration, leaving the U.S. the lone holdout.

​In December 2010, President Obama announced that the U.S. would reverse the position of the Bush administration and become the last nation to drop its opposition to the Declaration.​ ​He made the announcement to enthusiastic applause at the second White House Tribal Nations Conference, a gathering attended by representatives of the nation’s 565 recognized American Indian tribes.

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